the way is a present

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The riches hidden in hitchhiking – by Hitchhiking Guru

Hitch-Hikers' Handbook

Have you ever wondered what makes us step on the road with our thumbs stretched out in the hope of getting a lift? Explore this very philosophy of hitch-hiking aptly described by our second contributor.

Few would believe it, but hitchhikers are incredibly wealthy.

Sure, perhaps not in a financial sense, but I’m working on that. The very act of hitchhiking holds riches for the soul, riches for the mind and riches for the heart. Few are aware of how much potential for growth there is in throwing yourself head first into the murky depths of the unknown. This is what hitchhiking embodies. Hitchhiking is acting in spite of fear, which is the main obstacle between where we are and where we want to be. The more we hitchhike, the more we step out of our comfort zones, the more we push ourselves and test limits, the freer we are…

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Rainbow Crystal Gathering – progress

Check out this other blog with stories and pictures about the Crystal Rainbow gathering!

In English and Spanish.

a path leading home

Sadly, my time here is coming to an end. This will always be home for us and I will come back here for sure.

The starting of a permanent community is not that easy, it involves a lot of hard work, some personal cash to buy the tools needed and endless sessions of talking circles about not only direction but everyday practical life. It is completely different then an average ‘rainbow gathering’. Yet the same spirit, the same family, all working for a common goal and happy to work, sing and prepare deliciousfood together.

our bath

Costa Rica – Progress Report / Donations / Photos.

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Go and do it NOW!

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Rainbow Crystal Gathering

On my way to a starting rainbow permaculture community!

It is the first crystal gathering, in every crystal hides a rainbow and the symbolical idea is that together we can ‘plant’ permaculture (rainbow) crystals in the earth. In the future these could be connected when more land like this develops and together we can make a beautiful coloured permaculture world. Call me an idealist. I really am.

colour the world with imagination!

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on the road again

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Exactly my way of travel, and just like in fairy tales, magic happens..!

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Alternative sleeping places when traveling – NO backpackers’ hostels.

This is a personal list with 13 alternative places to crash out when on the road. followed with some resources to find more long-term eco-oriented possibilities to keep the eco-nomadic lifestyle flowering forever.

photo: Chris Booth.

photo: Chris Booth.

  1. renting a spare room in a local house:In many Latin countries there are families willing to rent a spare room for a small fee. Especially in more off-the-beaten-track locations it is possible to find a relatively cheap place to stay. Also in eastern Europe.
  2. hostels that are not mentioned in lonely planet: Personally, I like these a lot better than the ‘normal’ backpackers’ hostels, even though it would not be for everyone. The places are usually less convenient and less renovated hence older. It can be a bit chaotic, maybe even dirty. These places have more of an anarchist squad vibe to them then of an actual hostel. It all depends on the people there, it can feel more like a community, or the other way. Some examples I have seen on the road: 
      • Kasa Libertad in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico.
      • “Charly’s” camping space in San Cristobal de las Casas.
      • Old fancy hotel in Vilcabamba, Ecuador, used by artesanos for camping. Swimming pool included!
      • Kaza Azul in Boquete, Panama.
  3. hospitality websites: personal experience with the first 2 only.
    • CouchSurfing : big community with millions of members worldwide. Due to its popularity, it attracts all kinds of people, but with a thorough search some high quality people can be found. Nice virtual space to meet like-minded people and make new (traveler) friends. Works well everywhere in Europe. In developing countries it is a lot more effective in cities then in rural places, even though there is the group for promoting rural couch surfing. There are some privacy issues with the selling of the ‘company’. Who knows what the future will bring for the members. It might even become a paying service.
    • Be Welcome : open source version of couchsurfing. A lot less people. At least this is never going to be a paying service and it promises a more democratic approach. More active members would be a nice improvement to this great website.
    • Hospitality Club : to be complete, was already a thriving community long before Couchsurfing existed.
    • Warm Showers : for cyclists and sympathizers. Has as goal to provide a ‘warm shower’ to those traveling by cycle.
    • Global Freeloaders : not a very attractive name!  With this site it is important to host exactly as much as you stay with other’s. The connection goes on to a less personal level, there is a mass e-mailing function.
  4. in the house of a friendly local person: In my own experience this has happened mostly in India, but also in eastern Europe there is a lot of hospitality! Magic happens when we leave our fully arranged, pre-booked comfort zone.
  5. in a truck when hitchhiking: The luxurious option, a moving and comfy bed. Just make sure that your trucker is a generally nice person. They usually are, after all, they are not only working, but having a stranger over in their small and personal living space. Another note: if spending the night with a trucker, it is good to take into account that there’s best 2 beds in the truck, they tend to be quite small..
  6. camping on the road/in a forest/on a parking lot when hitchhiking
  7. renting a car and sleeping in it
  8. in an abandoned house in Bosnia and Herzegovina:When someone told me that this is not considered illegal, I was very keen on trying it. When hitching my way back to Belgium, I stranded in a small village just before sunset, so I set out and found a perfect house. It was mostly destroyed and full of pieces. but on the first floor I could make a clean sleeping space with my camping gear. There was no trash or junkie’s paranefalia. At night it rained a bit so that made me double happy.
  9. on top of a sports stadium in Croatia: On Pag, a very touristy island where the urge to leave was huge. Arrived late at night in the main city, to find only very expensive campings. Just a quick 5-hour nap before hitting the road again! It was very windy and on the roof I found that I was not only less visible, but also that there was a wall that protected me. The whole roof was clean and easy to climb on.
  10. the entrance of a temple in India: In smaller towns and villages, this is the way to go. The general idea is that the gods will protect us, and if not, the bad guys are too scared of the gods that they will not touch you. Be prepared to be the main attraction in town as the children can be very curious!
  11. fireman’s station: No experience yet, but I’ve heard from many people that this is a great possibility in Latin countries. The fire men will help any traveler that knocks at the door. Maybe you will even get a bed. To be continued..
  12. beaches: The breeze! The sound of the waves!
  13. airports: No need to explain, this informative site will do that for me as they have this topic thoroughly covered.

For longer term staying and working for food and board, here’s a list of websites to find a possibility. I do use them sometimes but I have better results with just letting my life flow and rolling into the most magical situations. From medicinal plant projects in the Peruvian jungle to opening a coffee shop and running a small hostel. Even just helping out a family running a small cafe in Croatia secured me with a lot of love and hospitality from their part.

To finish some handy websites that try to make directories from eco communities and villages all over the world or in specific areas.

 

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hitchhiking as a modern fairytale

serendipity of destiny with chosen time and road Continue reading

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hitchhiking code of honour

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  • Always support local economy instead of multinationals. Instead of drinking Nescafe, try local coffee. Buy locally grown vegetables instead of imported ones. This might not be a hitchhiking trick, it belongs definitely on top of this list concerning travel ethics!
  • Respect others’ point of view and different cultures, be polite and friendly, especially when talking to ‘hitch-drivers‘ about sensitive matters. Politics and religion are famous topics that people tend to avoid. It should not necessarily be avoided, just act sensible and do not give a strong opinion when the hitch-driver has a clearly different or opposing opinion. Be prepared to listen and kindly smile and nod, even when the hitch-driver is a Nazi jerk off ass. You can get out of the car any time, friendly works better. Express your stronger opinions with friends. Some hitch-drivers become instant friends😉
  • Learn the local language(s) or at least try! Make an effort to learn at least ‘hello’ and ‘thanks’!
  • Don’t abuse hospitality but don’t be too harsh in refusing it either. It can be difficult to say no to people offering food, lodging. Sometimes it just seems like a bridge too far. Hitch-drivers are already taking you down the road as it is. As a responsible hitchhiker, it is needed to find a balance in the care and worries one should give to you. It mostly depends on the attitude of the hitch hiker itself. This subject is one to come back to at a later time, since it is a complex issue of trust, care and being an independent & responsible hitchhiker.
  • Do not burden others with your unwanted possession, find a proper new home. Try not to forget things in cars or houses from others. It should not be mentioned to not steal from them either.
  • Last but not least: Just be you and make a shining appearance so you make others’ people (sometimes boring) day a bit nicer just by being present!

For some real-life experiences and many hitchhiking tips and tricks, such as starting point out of a city, country information – ‘hitchability’-, and a lot more.. I highly recommend hitchwiki and digihitch.

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